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Match Report


Posted Tue 02 Mar 10 at 21:45 PM

FULL TIME: Harriers 2-2 Ebbsfleet

Match report by Matt Wall - stats provided by the Press Association

Harriers kept up their unbeaten run with a 2-2 draw against Ebbsfleet United on Tuesday night but only some late last-ditch defending from the Kent side prevented another Aggborough victory.

The remit coming into this game on the back of Saturday's win over Histon must surely have been 'same again' for Harriers, and in terms of grabbing an early goal they duly responded as the deadlock was broken with just five minutes on the clock.

Unsurprisingly it was Brian Smikle involved yet again after he was released towards the edge of the United penalty area - he had the option of taking a shot but instead he chipped the neatest of crosses to the unmarked Darryl Knights who excellently nodded the ball down and into the back of the net past Lance Cronin.

Five minutes later it should have been two - Robbie Matthews beat the offside trap and charged down on goal, one on one, and shot towards Cronin only for the England C stopper to spread himself well and keep the ball out.

That seemed to open up the game and within a few minutes after that there was an opportunity apiece; Ebbsfleet had a good chance as Alex Stravinou forced Ross Atkins into a good save before Smikle kept Cronin's fingers warm with a first-time shot at the other end.

Around the half-hour mark there were appeals for a penalty waved away as Robbie Matthews was sent sprawling in the area by Dean Pooley, and some six minutes later it became a double blow for Harriers as Ebbsfleet found themselves level - the ball from skipper Peter Holmes was a good one but its target, Moses Ashikodi, was left all alone to sweep a neat volley on the angle past Atkins and into the back of the net.

The second period was much slower to get started than the initial 45 but two minutes shy of the hour Cronin needed to be brave as he kept the home side at bay. Knights teased United on the edge of the area and hit the ball out to McPhee, who drove a cross on the angle of goal which saw Smikle denied by the stopper.

Ever since Scott Ginty's 12th minute arrival as a first-half sub, United had done a superb job of containing Harriers' threat and limiting their invention. Defending excellently, their efforts were rewarded on 68 minutes as they took the lead. The ball was with Ginty and there was no real challenge on him as he advanced on Atkins goal and finished coolly from some 20 yards.

Harriers boss' Steve Burr was also using the extra weapons at his disposal by sending on Marc Goodfellow and Adam Boyes to ruffle a few features and on 76 minutes it was the latter who had a telling impact as the home side drew themselves level. Martin Riley's looping ball from the back was headed down well by the Scunthorpe youngster, straight into the path of Smikle who finished with aplomb past Cronin, firm and low.

That left Aggborough bouncing and with seven minutes left McPhee came close to making it 3-2; fed in by Knights, he turned in the area and shot at goal with Cronin doing well to get down and keep a firm pair of hands on it.

There was five minutes of injury time and it was at this stage that United turned on both the time-wasting and the heroics - first, after Cronin saved superbly from Goodfellow, Smikle smashed at the re-bound that looked destined for the back of the net, only for Stefan Bailey to get back for the Fleet with an astonishing goal-line clearance.

With one of the last kicks of the game McPhee again went close but his decent header from a corner was met almost predictably with another good stop from Cronin.

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